Friday, January 05, 2007

notes on we are marshall

I don't much care for any movie that is "based on or inspired by a true story". because when i find out what the "true" story is, I'm always left with a bad taste in mouth no matter how good the movie is. I understand why the changes have to be made and I comprehend the idea that some things just don't translate well onto the big screen. i know. this is why the book is always better than the movie.

That all said, i really enjoyed the movie. I thought it was a great movie and also a good sports movie. it didn't feel forced like "Remember the Titans" which was also a good movie, but only because of the great cast. The only thing i didn't like was how there wasn't a strong enough presence of people who represented the "tragedy happened but I'm going to move on with my life" camp. i thought we focused entirely too much on the "roll over and die instead of live my life" camp.

So anyway the changes. I'm only going to list the few i know of.

- the crash. it wasn't the finding of the play book that identified the crash. it was a personal effect that a firefighter recognized. i guess we changed it to remind people "football movie too"

- father/girlfriend. the grieving father and the cheerleader girlfriend were composite characters. they represented an amalgam of different stories. makes sense. the film didn't have time to focus on everyone who lost someone. still, i couldn't help but be annoyed at the characters. i mean seriously, i really had to keep from yelling at the father "dude, either you get on with your life and live it or just do us all a favor and dig a hole next to your wife and son and just lay down inside!!!" i know that sounds insensitive and mean, but he was actively bringing everyone down with him by hindering their efforts to move on with THEIR lives and he had no right no matter how great his pain.

- the chant. "We are Marshall!!!!" didn't start getting used until the 90s. i can certainly understand changing this. effect and all.

- recruiting. Marshall football almost canceled even before the crash. the Mid-Atlantic conference kicked Marshall out of the conference because in 69 there were allegedly 144 recruiting violations. so basically the only part they got right in the movie was the fact that the only weapon they had was the ability to offer freshmen a chance to play right off the bat. do i never have to say why this wasn't brought up in the movie?

- WVU. funny story. i watched the movie with my brother josh and our parents. during the recruiting scene where WVU kept snapping up all the players i leaned over to them all and said "oh great, and i have to walk out of this theater with my WVU hat on looking like a total bastard." The movie did get Bowden right. he really did help the out as much as possible and they really did wear stickers on their helmets. I kinda thought they should have thrown in a line of dialog from Bowden with him saying "we aren't Marshall, but we're West Virginia." but that's my West Virginia pride talking.

so while there were a few changes and omissions, it didn't really ruin things for me to find them out. What do you think?

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